Daily Devotion for September 6, 2014
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
To Spend this Day in Thankful Reverence
Holy Father, Holy God, I come before you today in reverence and awe; I am filled with humility in the face of your greatness, your majesty, your holiness, and your power. And to acknowledge my sinfulness in the face of your pure and holy presence fills me with fear. Yet I pray boldly, for you have called me and adopted me as your rightful heir, through the sacrifice of your Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I give you thanks for your mercy with every ounce of my being, and pray that your Holy Spirit might be with me, that I might do your will in every thought and action this day; and that the work of my hands and the words of my tongue might seek your glory, and not my own.
And I promise, with your help and grace, to be fearless in the world; for if you are with me, who can be against me? Let me not hesitate to call upon you, for your power and love will see me through anything this world can bring against me. All thanks and praise be to you, almighty God.
In the name of Christ, I pray,
My Father, I pray that I may have patience to live through the difficulties of life. May I correct my faults, that they may not destroy my peace and take from me my strength; help me to center my life in brightness and hope.
[Having patience through the difficulties of life.]
Oh Heavenly Father, in whom I live and move and have my being, I humbly pray you so to guide and govern me by your Holy Spirit, that in all the joys, occupations, and cares of this day I may never forget you, but remember that I am ever walking in your sight. In Christ's name, I pray,
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
2 Kings 22 (ESV) (excerpts)
Israel after Solomon (30): Josiah Finds the Book of Law
Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.
In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent to Hilkiah the high priest, that he might count the money that had been brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the threshold had collected from the people. “Let it be given into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord, and let them give it to the workmen who are at the house of the Lord, repairing the house, and let them use it for buying timber and quarried stone to repair the house.”
And Hilkiah the high priest said, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to the king.
When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. And the king commanded, “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”
So [the priests] went to Huldah the prophetess, and she said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘ Because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore, you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.’”
Notes on the Scripture
We have looked at three periods of Hebrew history after Solomon:
- The breakup of the kingdom into Israel and Judah after Solomon's death, @ 930 B.C.;
- The apostasy of Israel (the Northern Kingdom), including Ahab and Jezebel; the prophets Elijah and Elisha; and the first of the latter prophets (i.e. those who have books named after them in the Bible), Amos and Hosea @ 870 B.C.; and
- The annihilation of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria and the salvation of the Southern Kingdom @740-690Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom (Israel), fell to Assyria in 722 B.C. B.C. The primary figures in Judah were King Hezekiah and the prophets Micah and Isaiah.
ext up is the fall of the Kingdom of Judah and the destruction of JerusalemJerusalem fell, and the First Temple was destroyed, in 587 B.C. by the Babylonians, followed by the “Babylonian Captivity”. This involves a morass of confusing names, even though we have kept them to a minimum. But since one purpose of this series is to at least be exposed to the 12 minor prophets, learning a fair number of difficult names is unavoidable. Hopefully readers will find our chart helpful and refer to it when name confusion sets in.
Steel yourselves for two toughies coming up next: Zephaniah and Habakkuk, who were important prophets at the time of King Josiah, but difficult names to keep straight. Habakkuk was a great, great prophet and poet; it is a shame he did not leave more writing behind, and we will spend a couple of days on his short book, because it is so good. The name is pronounced Ha'-ba-kuhk or Ha-ba'-kuhk.
Zephaniah is probably the one I find hardest to keep straight, because there is another minor prophet name Zechariah (which is identical to the name of John the Baptist's father — sigh). He was an important prophet, historically, but his book is repetitive of others and has no special poetic merit, so we won't spend much time on him.
We have not left much space for comment on today's Scripture, but it is easy enough to read. It tells of a good king (Josiah) who repairs the Temple, a prophetess, and a temporary reprieve for Judah. But the reason for including it is the utterly astonishing revelation that the Jews — and this includes the actual priests of the Temple — no longer even had a copy of the Law of Moses (i.e., the Pentateuch)! A high priest stumbled upon it while repairing the Temple.
This indicates just how far the Hebrews had strayed from God. They were so completely divorced from their duties, imposed by God's directly revealed commandments, that they did not even know what they were.
Hebrew actually disappeared as a spoken language around 550 B.C. By 300 B.C., Hebrew was to the Jews what Latin is to us: dead. Only a few religious scholars had any idea of how to read it. There was no book of Scripture. A revival of religious interest around 300 B.C. impelled a group of 70 scholars in Alexandria, Egypt, whose famous library was the world's repository of knowledge, to search the world for ancient Hebrew writings and put together first Jewish Bible — written in Greek. This Bible, known as the Septuagint, was translated into Latin as the Old Testament of the Vulgate and, eventually, the King James Version.